Comfort Food

In these cold, wintry months (well, cold-ish, anyway!), we’ve done a few comfort food meals, and attached a picture of a few: spaghetti & meatballs, as well as seafood chowder (the way Mom used to make)! Recipes have been modified- send me a message, if you’d like!

On a Cold Winter’s night…..

After a bitter walk home through hellish conditions, (-5), I came home to aid in the construction, and subsequent annihilation, of the attached winter repast…
Herbed Panko Crusted Chicken with Butternut Squash and Gnocchi a’la Shari
-Butternut Squash:
gut the squash and slice into 3/4″ slabs
brush with olive oil
bake at 350 for 15 mins-THEN-increase to 450 and ADD the chicken…
-Chicken:
-4 M&M (of course) Chicken breasts, thawed and rinsed
-1/3 of a box of Kikkoman Panko( the best- has a resealable inner bag, too!)
-1 tsp poultry seasoning or sage
-1 tsp seasoning salt or BBQ rub
Mix panko and spices up on a plate, roll chicken it the mixture, place on a foiled up pan and bake at 450 for 18-20 mins. While that’s cooking, prepare the-
-Gnocchi
-one 500 g bag o’ gnocchi
-1-2 tbs olive oil
heat oil in skillet, and add gnocci straight from the bag, fry for 5 or so mins on med heat, till nicely browned. Splash on a few drops of truffle oil, ’cause it’s awesome, et Voila- warm and lovely goodness and great smells abound!

NOTE: Picture is NOT worthy of Donna Hay/Jon- and is not indicative of the goodness.

Orzo Goodness

This is Mom’s soon-to-be-classic Orzo Salad, just a great. easy go-to salad for a pretty large group- or 3 days of hotly disputed leftovers!

1 pkg orzo (in the pasta section)
1 reg sized tub’o fresh spinach
1 sm tub of pesto-(we used Western Families)
roasted pine nuts- 12 pounds or slightly less.
grated parm

-cook pasta
-add pesto
-chop spinach into 2″ chunks and mix in just before serving
-top with grated parmigiana and pine nuts
-eat with abandon

Fishes Delicious

Here’s a simple recipe I used to spice up the cod Dad gave me. You’ve probably made similar recipes already in your travels, but I found this particular combination truly spectacular:

1 cup crushed soda crackers (the finer the better)
2 minced cloves garlic
4 leaves finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp each salt and pepper (adjust to preference)
1 tbsp lemon juice

4-6 cod fillets, skin removed
4 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix first group of ingredients. Rinse and pat dry the cod fillets. Immerse them in olive oil, then roll them in cracker mixture. Arrange on a pan and bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Reconciliation

I found a new recipe for Whole-Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies that FAR outweighs my previous failure. In fact, at the rate I’ve been eating them I may have to make more tomorrow.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup oats (I didn’t have any; I used bran cereal instead)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp brown sugar

1 cup peanut butter
½ cup honey
1 egg

Preheat oven to 300°F. Blend dry ingredients in one bowl and other ingredients in another. Using biceps to their max, combine all ingredients together thoroughly. Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes. Spoon tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (squish with a fork if you wish) and bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned. Makes between two and three dozen cookies.

Matt’s Birthday

another birthday meal!  🙂 No pictures, but we made filet mignon… had a Groupon (yeah, Groupon!) for 50% off a specialty organic butcher in North Van, so bought the best! We did the steaks French style- pan seared with butter… oh my- so good!  Also did caramelized shallot & roasted garlic mashed potatoes (my own recipe), and did this sauce for the steaks- took me 2 hours, but totally worth the effort!  I’ve just included the recipe for the sauce, as I didn’t make anything else…

Red Wine Sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces shallots, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 6-ounce package sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 750-ml bottle Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
1 14-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
1 14-ounce can beef broth
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 Turkish bay leaf

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over; sauté until mixture is deep brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add vinegar; stir until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add both broths, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered 45 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Mix butter and flour in small bowl. Bring sauce to simmer over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in flour mixture. Cook until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes.
Leah

Mom’s Birthday

So, we had the ‘rents over for Mom’s 50th birthday and went all out, Italian style: boconccini with basil & tomatoes; Mario Batali style spaghetti, and then orange sabayon.

spaghetti bolognese recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bolognese-Sauce-107226

yum yum!

Leah

Pannekoeken!

Okay, so they’re not authentically Dutch, but this recipe was originally an Alton Brown recipe (with some alterations by yours truly), so I think that lends them some credibility. They also happen to be delicious and easy.

Whole-Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt
1½ T sugar

1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 T butter, softened

Blend dry ingredients well, then mix in the other ingredients. Lightly grease a frying pan or griddle set to low-medium heat and pour ¼-cupfuls of batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles break on the surface, then flip; cook until undersides are golden brown.

Makes about 10.

Bad to Eat

Burnt Cookies

Note to file: Don’t try this recipe. It sucks. I’m an experienced baker (granted, with a dial oven and $2-pans), and I just wasted 3 dozen cookies’ worth of ingredients (you can see the mushiness of the top and blackness of the bottom, after just 6 minutes in the oven).

Our Foray Into Mussels

Its been a busy couple weeks here in Edmonton, so Elyse and I decided enough is enough, we need some vino and mussels to cure our ailments. Amazingly, we have never made our own, so we were inspired!

We used the following recipe, with some of our own addtions. Here it is, and it is HIGHLY recommended. We will make it again. Maybe tomorrow.

Mussels

Ingredients

Provençale Sauce:

We also made some changes:

Here is the full recipe: http://bit.ly/9WT2Ci

Not Actual Food- but a place to create some.

Popcorn Tasting Trio

popcorn trio

Ohh how sophisticated it sounds – a tasting trio.   Because it’s a shared joy for Doug and I to take a highbrowed approach to mere peasant treats, we have created a delectable culinary experience for you all.   Kidding ….. I love popcorn and Doug has learned to share my love of this microwavable delight.

We popped a few bags (the lazy approach) and then seasoned for three different flavors!  We highly recommend any or all of the following be enjoyed with a healthy sized glass of vino.

Frenchified Popcorn

Sauté the crushed garlic and butter then add the popcorn, tossing to coat.  Remove from heat and season generously with salt and herbs de Provence.

We really enjoyed this one, it was the least overpowering of the flavors and would be the perfect accompaniment to a movie or hockey game.

Maple Pecan Popcorn

Line the bottom of a pan with foil and toss popcorn with pecan pieces.  In a heavy sauce pan, melt butter and add maple syrup and salt.   Bring to a boil (w/o stirring) for about 15 mins.  Pour syrup over the popcorn/pecans and cool completely.

This one was sweet and delicious.  It also stores better than the other combos.

Parmesan Pepper Popcorn

This one is pretty self explanatory – just toss everything together!  We upped the salt and pepper amounts and tossed it in a saucepan to try and melt some of the parm.  This combo was the least unique in taste, but still a good twist on regular popcorn.

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

The other day I realized I needed snacks, and I looked through my fridge but all I could find were carrots and whole-wheat flour, so I took someone’s recipe, heavily modified it (originally there was pineapple in it, actually), and came out with these:

Here’s my recipe:

2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs
⅓ cup cooking oil
1 cup milk
1½ cup grated carrot

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, and the remaining ingredients in another. Stir just until blended and pour into muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or so.

Quack, quack!

OK, so Matt and I decided to compromise and not blow $300 at West to celebrate our anniversary. However, we did blow about $100 at Bosa foods (we heart Bosa!!).

So, here are the picture descriptions: We started with Charcuterie: pork country pate (I did not make!) 18 month aged prosciutto, soppresseta, goat brie, okanagan gouda and raincoast crisps/crostinis.  Accompanying this (in our lovely tri sauce dish, thanks to D & E), we had zucchini relish, given to us by a friend, sundried tomato, and red pepper curry mustard, again courtesy of the Edmonton Farmer’s market, and D & E.  (AMAZING mustard, guys!!!)

For dinner, we did a duck ragu with papardelle noodles.  Never made duck before, but found out it is an easy way to spend $30 on protein! http://bit.ly/8X7Y70. I made several modifications, so let me know if you’d like the additions.  It was SO good- so flavorful and rich, without being overly heavy.

Paired it with a 2006 (a great year- get it?  Anniversary? ka-ching) La Frenz Montage. So delicious, and the leftovers were far more than West’s!  Buon appetito!

Very appropriate for the weekend

Came across these little gems: salut to the weekend! (My apologies, Jon!)

http://alternativereel.com/includes/top-ten/display_review.php?id=00037

Leah

Ahhh, pizza!

So, if there’s one thing I love to do when I cook, is find a way to make things more complicated, more expensive and longer to make!  However, I have found one exception- pizzas!  I make this recipe for pizza dough from (of course) epicurious, and although it does take longer, due to the rising time, there is something so cathartic about smashing your fists into warm, sticky dough.  Then, you can throw it up, and sing the “That’s Amore” song.  It’s a pretty winning combination!  🙂

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pizza-Dough-354220

Some of Matt and I’s favorite toppings are caramelized onions, mushroom and roasted garlic, Italian meat lovers, and prosciutto & arugula.

The recipe makes three large pizzas, and it freezes very well.  I’d recommend rolling the dough out as thin as possible, and using a pizza stone, such as this one below-( it makes the crust so crispy) before adding toppings on. A crisp Italian white wine or Negroni cocktails are our favorite drinks with.

http://bit.ly/bwOkmf

What Thomas Keller and I have in common…

…We can both make this!! After that, the similarities end.

I don’t make the crust ever- just make the sabayon, and go for it!  I think it’s the best when chilled and served with berries.

Tarte au Citron

There are different ways to make a lemon tart. At Bouchon, the French Laundry, and Per Se, we use a sabayon method, in which the eggs are first cooked with the lemon juice and sugar over hot water, then the butter is gradually incorporated — an easy method that results in a consistently good lemon custard or curd.

Lemon Sabayon:
2 large eggs, cold
2 large egg yolks, cold
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
For the sabayon:

Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl you will be using for the sabayon. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.

Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into glasses.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Lemon-Tart-231349#ixzz0yJHl57qp

Very unusual but delicious.

We served these at a BBQ.  I was wondering if people would like them since most people are not fond of dates.  However, the Madjool dates are really good.  The combination of sweetness, salt, savory cheese and pancetta is divine.  I used Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese and bacon because I couldn’t find any pancetta in town that day (apparently not a hot seller in the Comox Valley).  In any case, six people ate about 20 of them and that was in addition to the best hot wings your dad has ever made.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Pancetta-Wrapped-Dates-Stuffed-with-Manchego-Cheese-and-Mint-357331

Delicious evening!

Grilled Artichokes Basted with Anchovy Butter

Here was another home run we created for ourselves. Absolutly amazing.

As one commenter put it “The anchovy butter should be it’s own food group”

Even if you don’t like anchovies, you’ve got to give this a try. First of all, you can’t beat freshly steamed artichokes—nibbling the flesh from the little leaves, gobbling the tender heart. And the insanely good anchovy butter has absolutely no relation to the too-salty fish you may have had once at a takeout pizza joint. Instead, oil-packed anchovies contribute this subtle sea-salty punch that you just can’t get from anything else.

Yield: Serves 8
Seasoned Butter
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
4 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed, and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, germ removed, and grated on a Microplane grater
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely ground fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

8 medium globe artichokes, 10 to 12 ounces each
3 to 4 lemons, halved and seeds removed
Kosher salt, for salting the water
About 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
About 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fleur de sel

1. Preheat all grates of a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to high.

2. Combine all of the butter ingredients together and set aside.

3. Cut off the thorny ends of the artichokes with scissors and then cut the artichokes lengthwise in half. Rub the cut sides of the artichokes with a lemon half and place, cut side down, on a sheet pan. Add enough lightly salted water, 2 to 3 cups, to come 1/4 inch up the sides of the artichokes.

Place the pan with the artichokes directly on the grate, reduce the heat to medium-high if you can (those cooking on coals won’t be able to, and must monitor the water level especially closely), close the lid, and cook, adding water as needed to maintain the level at 1/4 inch. Cook until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 30 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the pan from the grill. Using a spoon, scoop the fuzzy choke from each of the halves. Transfer the cleaned halves to a new sheet pan.

Using your hands or a brush, evenly, but lightly, coat both sides of the artichokes with canola oil.

5. Place the artichokes, cut side down, on the grate andn grill until well marked and lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and repeat on the second side, grilling for 2 to 3 minutes.

While still cut side up, place about 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each of the cavities and allow it to melt.

Squeeze lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with parsley and fleur de sel.

6. Remove theth artichokes from the grill and arrange on a serving platter.

SOURCE: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Artichokes-Basted-with-Anchovy-Butter-352969